The racing has finished and with it concluded the Bitci MXGP of Turkey, the first of two Grand Prix’s taking place in Afyonkarahisar. Both the MXGP and MX2 riders added to the Turkish heat, treating the local crowd to four nail biting races that concluded with overall victories from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings and Tom Vialle.
After posting the fastest lap time in Time Practice, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado started the first race with the Fox Holeshot, as he led Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Glenn Coldenhoff, Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre and Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass.
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Jeffrey Herlings of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing were side by side on the opening lap and moments later both got around Jonass who dropped to sixth.
Herlings then caught onto the back of Coldenhoff and passed his fellow Dutchman as Gajser set out to do the same. But the Slovenian struggled for 10 laps behind Coldenhoff always coming short of making a pass.
Febvre remained all over Prado for the lead, as Gajser came under fire from Cairoli who got around the Honda rider to move into sixth. He then got around Coldenhoff too and was pushing to get closer to Jonass.
Gajser then caught back up with the 259 of Coldenhoff and passed him on lap 11, as JM Honda Racing’s Henry Jacobi got Brian Bogers of Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing for eighth to solidify a top 10 result.
After spending the majority of the race in third, Herlings switched it up a gear and was on a charge to close in on Febvre and Prado. It did not take him long as he got Febvre on lap 13 and then just two laps later was in front of Prado.
Jonass started to challenge Febvre too and with three laps from the end of the race was able to get the job done. Herlings was the race winner, with Prado finishing second and Jonass third.
In the second heat it was once again Prado with the Fox Holeshot as he led the race once again while Febvre, Gajser, Jonass and Cairoli followed behind. Herlings struggled further down the field as he passed Kevin Strijbos of Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing for seventh position.
Herlings then continued to make progress as he got around Coldenhoff and set his sights on Cairoli, while Gajser charged past Febvre to move into second place.
The gap was then 1.366 seconds between Prado and Gajser, as the Slovenian was clear with his intentions of going for the win.
Jonass then had a big crash as he went off the track while battling with Cairoli for fourth, with the Latvian not finishing the race. Cairoli inherited his position as Herlings started to close in too.
Gajser then made another attempt to pass Prado and was able to secure the position and take over the lead on lap nine. Cairoli then caught onto the back wheel of Febvre as the pair traded positions a couple of times before the Italian was able to make it stick and take away third from the Kawasaki rider, as Herlings did the same.
Gajser then led by 2.877 seconds, as Prado was starting to feel the force of Cairoli and Herlings who were catching up fast. Cairoli and Prado had a couple of close calls before making contact, but both remained on the bikes. Eventually Cairoli crashed after, which allowed Herlings through.
With one lap to go, Herlings got his head down and got to work as he was able to pass Prado and secure the top step of the podium. Gajser was the race winner, with Herlings second and Prado third.
With a 1-2 result, Jeffrey Herlings was back on the top step, while Jorge Prado was forced to settle for second and Tim Gajser joining the pair in third. In terms of the championship standings, Gajser leads Prado by 13 points, while Febvre remains third a further four points behind.
Jeffrey Herlings: “Definitely the first race was much easier because I was around fourth of fifth in the start and only had to pass a few guys. Both starts were off today and with the high altitude here we changed some things with the bike, but I think maybe we should go in a different direction. The start was pretty bad in the first race but then I managed to pass Glenn, Romain and Jorge and then it went pretty easy. Second race I was around tenth or twelfth, it was harder to get around the other guys, the last few laps were sketchy between Jorge and Tony as they were fighting for second position. Then Tony crashed right in front of me and then I managed to sneak past Jorge, but Tim was too far away for me to do anything about it. A 1-2 is good, we have some good racing and I look forward to it, I like the track but will definitely work on the starts and try some things. The arm is fine now, in Lommel it was very painful but in Latvia it was already much better, I still had a bit of pain but nothing crazy. I don’t know if you can ever be 100% but I am trying to be the best as I can because the competition is strong. If you look at the championship, the top five guys are really close”.
Jorge Prado: “I think it was a great day. I got two good starts which makes things a lot easier. I led the most laps today so this gives me a confidence boost for Wednesday, the only thing is I was riding the same lines but when Jeffrey passed me in race one and Tim in the second one, I could see where I could improve. Physically I am feeling ok and I am getting better, the bike is working good. It was a pity on the last lap to be passed by Jeffrey, but hopefully on Wednesday we get some good results. There is still a lot of racing left, I need to take it race by race and stay within the top three, that is my goal, and get some race wins if I can. You don’t always get such a good field of riders because of injuries and other reasons but now everybody is ready to go racing so it is nice to race when everybody is fit”.
Tim Gajser: “I had two completely different races. The first race I had a solid start, but I got stuck behind Glenn and couldn’t pass him for ten laps so I kind of lost the rhythm, got arm pump and finished sixth and I was definitely not happy with it. In the second one, I had a good start and was third and then made quick passes in the middle of the race, made a small gap and controlled the race. Definitely happy with the second race. I will try to improve the starts for Wednesday and be more consistent and just have fun because that’s the most important things”.
Main Photo: Jeffrey Herlings
Bottom Photos: 1. Jorge Prado and Romain Febvre 2. Tim Gajser
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:42.407; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:05.534; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, GASGAS), +0:06.236; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:09.174; 5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:31.970; 6. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:35.999; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:52.191; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:54.267; 9. Henry Jacobi (GER, Honda), +0:56.317; 10. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:57.016;
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 34:39.849; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:04.654; 3. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:08.824; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:28.683; 5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:34.198; 6. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KTM), +0:39.772; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:41.305; 8. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:42.717; 9. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Yamaha), +0:45.092; 10. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +0:46.408;
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 47 points; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 42 p.; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 40 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 36 p.; 5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 32 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 28 p.; 7. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KTM), 23 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 23 p.; 9. Pauls Jonass (LAT, GAS), 20 p.; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, GAS), 19 p.;
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 310 points; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 297 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 293 p.; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 284 p.; 5. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 274 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 234 p.; 7. Pauls Jonass (LAT, GAS), 200 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 197 p.; 9. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KTM), 157 p.; 10. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 133 p.;
MXGP – Manufacturers Classification: 1. KTM, 376 points; 2. Honda, 311 p.; 3. Kawasaki, 298 p.; 4. Yamaha, 265 p.; 5. GASGAS, 230 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 145 p.;
In the first MX2 race of the day, it was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle who grabbed the Fox Holeshot ahead of his fellow teammate Rene Hofer as well as Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jed Beaton and Kay De Wolf, as well as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Mattia Guadagnini. While Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing MX2’s Maxime Renaux was further down the field in around eighth position.
Hofer then took over the lead from Vialle, as Renaux managed to find a way through on De Wolf to move into fifth. Vialle then got to work as he caught back up with his teammate and by lap four was back in the driving seat and leading the race.
Renaux then lost a spot to Honda 114 Motorsports’ Ruben Fernandez for a brief moment before getting back around the Spaniard, while Hofer was starting to come under pressure from Beaton and Guadagnini.
Though at the front of the field, Vialle continued to clock the fastest lap times of the race, as Thibault Benistant of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing MX2 and F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Mathys Boisrame battled for eighth.
Guadagnini finally managed to get around Beaton on lap eight and then five or six laps later was able to get Hofer to get into second. Hofer then faded off as both Beaton and Renaux got around the Austrian, while Fernandez dived down the inside of De Wolf for sixth.
In the end it was Vialle who won the race 5.988 seconds ahead of Guadagnini and Beaton who crossed the line in third.
In race two it was Renaux with a flying start, as he took the second Fox Holeshot of the day and led the way with Beaton second and Vialle third. Guadagnini got another strong start and so did Gianluca Facchetti of Team Beddini Racing KTM on his first outing with the new team.
Hofer then got around Fernandez for fifth as Vialle tried to get around Beaton, with the Australian quick to respond and claim back his second-place spot.
As Renaux stretched out his lead to 2.490 seconds, Beaton came under fire from Vialle once again, with the KTM rider finally making a pass stick on lap five. Vialle then set the fastest lap of the race as he began to close in on the race leader, Renaux. But Renaux stepped it up a gear himself to set the fastest lap of the race himself, with the two Frenchman clock fast times lap after lap.
While the battle for the win was well and truly on between Renaux and Vialle, Guadagnini was also not letting go of Beaton for third as he started to apply the pressure.
With just a couple of laps from the finish, Vialle went down as he was focused on passing Renaux which handed the Yamaha rider a victory, while Vialle was able to get back on his bike quickly and hold on to second as Beaton was able to keep Guadagnini at bay and finish the day with another third-place finish.
With a 1-2 result, Tom Vialle was on the top step of the podium while Maxime Renaux was forced to settle for second ahead of Jed Beaton in third, as he secured his second podium of 2021.
Renaux continues to lead the MX2 championship, maintaining a healthy 37-point lead over Guadagnini who has gained a bit of breathing room to Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing MX2’s Jago Geerts who is a further 15 points adrift.
Tom Vialle: “It’s really good to be back on top after the injury. The summer break was good because I could train and work on the bike also and now to be back is really good. I was happy in the morning to take pole position because it’s not a lot of times that I’ve taken the pole position which was pretty nice. I took two good starts and in the second race I pushed to come back but it was difficult to pass as there were not so many lines and Maxime was riding pretty good. I tried to give my best. For sure to win here is good and to stay here in Turkey is nice, I like the track and it will be a good race on Wednesday”.
Maxime Renaux: “Was two completely different races today. I took two good stars, but in the first race I went too wide which allowed the other riders on the inside, so I had to fight my way through the pack and come back from eighth to fourth. I was riding a little bit stiff and was not happy with the riding. For the second race we changed some things on the bike, I was feeling much more comfortable and took the holeshot and then had the perfect race. For Wednesday I will look to improve on my lap times because it’s important to be on the inside here. I take it race by race, I want to win all the races if I can but it’s pretty hard and I need to think about the championship. I’m also trying to be more clever than before and avoid making stupid mistakes and keep control of the championship”.
Jed Beaton: “It was a pretty good day for me. Never pulled the holeshot but in the first race I came close which was good, but then made a small mistake which allowed the KTM guys to pass and then Tom was going quite fast and I got a little bit of arm pump so I went back a little bit but then the last few laps of the race I felt like I was riding good again and try to take that into the second race. I got another good start but lost a bit of rhythm in the first few laps, the guys pulled away but I was just trying to manage my own race and then had Mattia on my back which added some pressure, but overall it was a good consistent day for me to put together two good races which has been a struggle for me for the last couple of races and it’s a good step in the right direction. It’s good to recharge the batteries as the last four rounds were pretty tough so it took a lot of energy out of us and the little break was nice for everyone”.
Main Photo: Tom Vialle
Bottom Photos: 1. Maxime Renaux 2. Jed Beaton
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 34:00.016; 2. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), +0:05.988; 3. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:07.359; 4. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:16.158; 5. Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), +0:27.478; 6. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:31.297; 7. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:34.174; 8. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:35.151; 9. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:43.644; 10. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:50.403;
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), 35:20.827; 2. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:01.638; 3. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:11.439; 4. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), +0:12.624; 5. Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), +0:28.479; 6. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:37.230; 7. Wilson Todd (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:45.210; 8. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Kawasaki), +0:54.046; 9. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:56.764; 10. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:58.882;
MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 47 points; 2. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 43 p.; 3. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 40 p.; 4. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), 40 p.; 5. Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 32 p.; 6. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 27 p.; 7. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 26 p.; 8. Wilson Todd (AUS, KAW), 24 p.; 9. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 24 p.; 10. Isak Gifting (SWE, GAS), 18 p.;
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 314 points; 2. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), 277 p.; 3. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 262 p.; 4. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 237 p.; 5. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 229 p.; 6. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 228 p.; 7. Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 216 p.; 8. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 210 p.; 9. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 204 p.; 10. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 180 p.;
MX2 – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Yamaha, 355 points; 2. KTM, 339 p.; 3. Husqvarna, 266 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 252 p.; 5. Honda, 237 p.; 6. GASGAS, 181 p.;